Interior Design

How to Turn a Nook Into an Office Without Even Buying a Desk

February 24, 2016

There are "home offices"—those indulgent allocations of space by homeowners with extra extra bedrooms—and then there are desks that you somehow find a space for in your home, a humbler varietal. The latter is a careful art: Squeezing a tiny desk in beside your bed is at first a win, but the piece might find itself doubling as a side table, a vanity, a place to put your watch and your coffee and your phone...until it disappears entirely.

But you can create a simple home office without sourcing a desk at all—just look to your nook.

Photo by Studio Oink

The home office pictured above—a design by the Danish firm Studio Oink—is tiny and thriftily made by floating a shelf along the three walls. A second, smaller shelf is added right below it on one side, for extra storage. The effect is not just clean and spare, but most importantly, separate! That's what makes it feel like a sacred space (without even needing a whole room to dedicate to it).

How in the world do you float a shelf?

The secret to floating a shelf—that is, mounting it to the wall without the help of exposed brackets—is that the shelf itself is hollow (not a solid plank of wood). You start by screwing a "cleat", or a beam of wood, to the wall and then build the shelf around that piece. A two-by-four makes a very good cleat, flush against the wall for a thicker shelf and poking straight out for an airier one.

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There are other steps involved for making sure it can properly bear weight, and here are two great tutorials if you're thinking of doing it yourself: 1, 2.

Not every home features a recessed wall, of course, but most have some sort of underused nook—be it a closet, an alcove, or a corner that juts out into a room. Here are a few more examples of tiny home offices that feel like rooms of their own.

Other places to put your tiny office:

In a bitsy unused space:

Photo by Decoist
Photo by Brit + Co

Playing off a shelving unit:

In a corner:

Have you ever hung floating shelves? Share your tips in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Elizabeth
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • Leslie Stephens
    Leslie Stephens
  • Amanda Sims
    Amanda Sims
Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Elizabeth March 8, 2018
If you need to build into a nook area, you might also look at They have connectors that allow you to make
all sorts of projects. I used them to turn an abandoned stainless steel
tabletop into a useful, industrial strength worktable with two very functional
shelves (from birch plywood), and a height that was comfortable for tall
people. Their connectors work!
Alexandra S. February 24, 2016
I love this! I have a desk, an old table really, tucked in the corner of my living room, which I like, because I like being where everyone is, but it could definitely be more compact. This is fun! I just looked at the studio oink site, which is beautiful, but can't find that shelf. Do you think this is an easy enough DIY project? Or do you have a source for a similar shelf?
Leslie S. February 24, 2016
WOW I love these!! Gonna go drill into my wall, landlord be damned
Amanda S. February 24, 2016
Spackle, the great security deposit returner.